Dental Tribune International

Poor dental health may indicate diabetes risk

By Dental Tribune International
May 24, 2018

CHICAGO, U.S.: An interaction between diabetes and oral health has been investigated by numerous studies, and according to U.S. researchers, a link between diabetes and periodontal disease and dental caries was suggested as far back as the 1930s. In a poster presented at the recent Endocrine Society annual meeting, the researchers presented the results of their study on the impact of glucose tolerance on dental health in a representative population in the U.S. The main finding was that dental diseases may precede the development of diabetes.

For the study, they reviewed the records of 9,670 adults 20 years of age and above enrolled in the 2009–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They analyzed the participants’ reported body mass index and glucose tolerance states by fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour postchallenge plasma glucose, hemoglobin A1c, established diabetes, and whether the condition was treated with oral agents or insulin.

They recorded the numbers of missing teeth due to caries and periodontal disease for individual patients. They also determined the relationship between glucose tolerance and dental condition in relation to age, sex, racial and ethnic group, family history of diabetes, smoking status, alcohol consumption, education and poverty index.

The researchers found a progressive increase in the number of patients with missing teeth as glucose tolerance declined, from 45.57 percent in the group with normal glucose tolerance to 67.61 percent in the group with abnormal glucose tolerance and to 82.87 percent in the group with diabetes. Except for sex, all other covariates had significant impact on the number of missing teeth.

The health of your teeth may be a sign of your risk for diabetes. Our findings suggest that dental exams may provide a way to identify someone at risk for developing diabetes. We found a progressive positive relationship between worsening glucose tolerance and the number of missing teeth. Although a causal relationship cannot be inferred from this cross-sectional study, it demonstrates that poor dental outcome can be observed before the onset of overt diabetes,” said lead author Dr. Raynald Samoa, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, U.S.

The results were presented in a poster on March 19 at ENDO 2018, the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

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